October 1, 2007

A Conversation with Tobias Buckell

Tobias BuckellTobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist.

His first novel, Crystal Rain, combined SF adventure and his Caribbean background, as did his second, Ragamuffin. His third book, Sly Mongoose, will be out summer of 2008.

Where were you born?

I was born in Grenada. I currently live, in all places, Ohio. I live far away from the ocean now. I'm happily married, with two dogs, two cats, and a small house in a small town.

What do you
do for a living? Why did you choose this vocation?

Right now my income is divided across writing fiction and writing freelance articles and some blogging for pay. I've always wanted to be a writer, and love being creative. I used to work in technology support, but after getting laid off, decided to make the jump into trying to do what I loved. And for some crazy reason, it worked.

Who are your three favorite writers? Why?

Cordwainer Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, and Bruce Sterling. Smith amazes me. An American growing in China, he wrote some really imaginative whacked out novels that still read freshly to this day. A lot of science fiction ages as time goes by and we learn more about the world and technology. It's often dated by societal mores and the times it was written in. But Cordwainer's crazy tales are just as lyrical, haunting, and paint just as strange a future of our world as it did over fifty years ago. I like Clarke for his sheer engineering, not only did he write science fiction, but his imagination gave us geosynchronous satellites. He literally helped change the face of this world with his ideas. And Sterling I love because he was the first SF writer I read who wrote a book that took the developing world seriously, setting his novel Islands in The Net in Grenada, India, then Africa. As a result of that, I felt empowered to try and write my own fusion SF and Caribbean novels.

What was the first book you fell in love with and how have your reading habits changed over the years?

The first book I remember falling in love with was Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. One, it features something fairly unusual in SF, a black protagonist, a scientist who travels through space and time to see what the fate of the human species will be. But the thing that blew me away was this big picture view and question of what humanity as a whole was, where it might be headed, what it was suited for, and where evolution may take it. The book lit my imagination on fire at the tender age of six or seven. I've been engrossed by science fiction ever since.

What are you reading now?

In the mail is Karl Schroeder's Queen of Candesce, and then a handful of books by Bob Baer about the CIA's negative activities throughout the world that I'm reading as research for one of my next novels.

What makes you laugh?

Everything. I'm pretty easily amused, to be honest. I amuse myself, I have trouble telling jokes often enough because I crack myself up while telling them. Life, people, fun, sitcoms, I'm easygoing and very entertain-able.

What are your other passions?

I'm a geek, I love my computers and new technologies. Blogging. Interacting with people. Information in any form I can consume it. I'm aware that I'm a bit undeveloped in the spare hobbies, I've spent so much time working to become an author that it took up all my spare time from the time I was 15 until now. That's 13 years of turning down partying and so forth, except for three years of playing soccer in college. I think it's getting time to pick up an instrument or learn a martial art to find something extra to do.


On Wednesday (10/3/07), "A Conversation with Richard Grayson."


Scott Rudin and Miramax Films have acquired feature rights to Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. (Via Maud Newton)



Stephen A. Bess said...

Very cool. It's great that he makes a living as a writer. There's nothing more important than doing what you love. Nice. Hello Geoffrey. I'm stopping through on one of my rare moments as a blogger. :)

Geoffrey Philp said...

Godd to see you here, Stephen.
Yes, Tobias' story is inspiring and one of the reasons why I wanted to tell part of his story here--it can be done.